The Baxter State Park Authority received a holiday gift in December courtesy of a group of Colby student geologists led by Whipple-Coddington Professor of Geology Robert Gastaldo.

The authority was given the report of a Colby team that last fall surveyed bedrock in what is known as the Trout Valley Formation, an area of the park that holds fossilized plants that grew in Maine some 400 million years ago.

In September students studied bedrock unearthed by a park road project, collecting representative specimens, assessing the site’s paleobiodiversity, and reconstructing a geologic history of the area.

Thirteen sites were found to contain fossil remains of extinct plants, shells belonging to an extinct species of clam, and feeding traces of animals that lived at the edge of what was then a brackish estuary.

“Our analyses provide an expanded understanding of the setting and biodiversity of the Trout Valley Formation, and conserve this new information for future generations,” the Colby report said.

Conducting the study were Paul Dougherty ’16, Mary Furth ’15, Zach Hartnett ’15, Kate Kerin ’17, Patt Lamom ’17, Dan Leaman ’15, Kathy Lipshultz ’16, Dylan Markey ’16, Stefan Sandreuter ’16, and Amanda Veth ’15.